of one author and one volume

I watched the loveliest movie tonight: 84 Charing Cross Road with Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins; a movie based on the correspondence that took place over 20 years between NYC author Helene Banff and the staff of Marks & Co. (London antiquarian book sellers). I loved everything about this movie: the cultural differences, most obvious early on in the film as both countries move through post WWII; the chain smoking, drinking, typewriter clacking, loud and loveable Bancroft, the bibliophile heroine; the stoic Anthony Hopkins; the portrayal of love and friendship that can be formed over such great distances. (Mary Ann Shaffer, author of The Guernesy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society must have read the book before writing her own!) Watching 84 Charing also made me nostalgic for the pre-internet days of my childhood when there was an excitement in checking the mailbox, waiting on letters from dear ones far away.

I recommend this movie. But, until you see it, just enjoy this gem, shared in the movie:

"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again, for that library where every book shall lie open to one another; as therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come; so this bell calls us all..."
--John Donne, "Meditation XVII"


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